Our Response to Covid-19
As I’m sure you’re all aware, Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been putting increased pressure on businesses across the UK.
We also recognise the unique role that we play in our customers’ day to day activities and we, therefore, wanted to share our commitment to maintaining service continuity so our customers can stay focused on their own daily lives. To ensure the COVID-19 crisis will not impact us or the level of service, here are the measures we’ve taken:
OFFICE & TEAM:
- Following official guidelines: Our offices are strictly adhering to all guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and our staff are taking all preventative measures seriously.
- Working: We are currently back to work from the office, and will continue to work flexibly to allow for us to meet the needs of our clients and tenants.
- Opening the office: The physical office is open by appointment only and all members of staff adhere to social distancing while mitigating our risk of contact as much as possible.
- Travel restrictions: We note that during any periods of local lockdown we will be limiting our (and our contractors) visits to properties to only those absolutely necessary so as to limit the contact with houses and the tenants therein.
- Managing employee illness: Employees who are not feeling well are instructed to stay at home. If they, or a family member, are diagnosed with the virus, our team will be immediately notified.
- Restricted maintenance responses: We must consider whether it is absolutely necessary to deploy a contractor right away. We will try to ensure all essential required works will continue as normal unless a tenant has the symptoms of the virus. All cases of self isolation or quarantine will be documented. All staff will wear PPE when working in tenanted houses.
- Rental payments & arrears: Where a tenant is suffering with financial uncertainty, we ask they inform us right away so we can put together a plan of action. An early conversation between landlord and tenant can help both parties to agree a plan if tenants are struggling to pay their rent. This can include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period of time and instead accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date.
- Evictions & Possessions: When using either Section 8 or Section 21 notices to quit, landlords must give at least three months’ notice before they can apply to the court for possession. This applies regardless of which ground is used for Section 8. All new or existing claims for possession are suspended for a 90-day period from 27 March 2020. The legislation covering notice periods is in force until 30 September 2020. It is subject to review and may be extended.
- Universal Credit: Tenants can apply for Universal Credit online and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a job centre. If individuals are suffering from Coronavirus or are required to stay at home and want to apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA), the usual seven-day waiting period for new claimants will not apply. ESA will be payable from day one www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. If an individual cannot work due to Coronavirus and is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), they will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness. This applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020. People receiving benefits do not have to attend job centre appointments for three months, starting from 19 March 2020. The government has increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. If individuals are already receiving Personal Independence Payments, ESA, Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit they will continue to receive their current payments as normal.
If you have urgent concerns visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
Latest Government advice: gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public